The discussion over whether to extend federal subsidies for student loans largely hinges on whether the House and Senate come to an agreement over how to pay for the resulting $6 billion tab for taxpayers.

Federal student loan subsidies make for bad policy all by themselves. Yet in its scramble to find the money, Congress has come up with even more bad policy ideas to put taxpayers on the hook. The Associated Press reports:

Congressional leaders are discussing combining the student loan bill with the highway legislation. Any extra funds raised by the student loan measure could help pay for the highway legislation.… Under the agreement, the government would raise $5 billion by changing the way companies calculate the money they have to set aside for pensions.… Another $500 million would come from increasing the fees companies pay for the government to insure their pension plans, linking those fees to inflation.

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